One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1spillikinstreated as singular A game played with a heap of small rods of wood, bone, or plastic, in which players try to remove one at a time without disturbing the others.
- ‘Clearing the objects from the Antechamber was like playing a gigantic game of spillikins.’
- ‘We sailed east on a floating palace that offered myriad activities, such as mumblety-peg, spillikins and ring-a-levio.’
- ‘Playing spillikins is a suitable occupation for the very young, indoors.’
2A splinter or fragment.
piece, bit, particle, speckView synonyms
- ‘‘He went through it with the meat-axe,’ said John; ‘It's all in spillikins in the back garden.’’
Mid 18th century: from spill + -kin.
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